In this blog post, 5 Ticket Pricing Strategies to Maximize Ticket Sales, we share best practice ticket pricing strategies used by successful event organizers to boost their ticket sales on Pelago!
Many organizers are missing a great opportunity when they fail to consider ticket pricing as a key part of their overall event promotional effort. Think of ticket pricing as one of best ways to create FOMO, generate social chatter and buzz, and of course optimizing the event value for you and your attendees.
Want to know the number 1 mistake most organizers make when planning their event? Read our blog and see if you get the message 😉
So how much should you charge for your event tickets? You can use the pricing strategies below to make your price and tickets as attractive to your audience as possible.
1. Early Bird Pricing
Publish early enough
Early bird pricing is one of the most important of your ticket pricing strategies as not only will it help you break even on your event costs sooner but also generate valuable word-of-mouth marketing. Publish discounted tickets well in advance of your event. For example, if your event is in 3 months’ time, plan to start publishing your tickets, including your early bird tickets, at least 8-10 weeks in advance of your event. Chances are you are reading this blog and thinking, oops, I’m already too late. So adjust accordingly and lesson number 1 for next time – plan ahead!
Put a limit on the offer
You can limit the offer by time or quantity of tickets. But overall, we find it’s much more effective to use a time limit while giving your audience plenty of opportunity to take advantage of the offer. In the above example, you could show your early bird tickets offer expiring up to 5-6 weeks prior to your event. Of course all the timings can be adjusted to suit your specific event. Of course you need time to factor in your early bird offer, so you really want to plan ahead!
Make the offer compelling
Your early bird pricing should ideally be so compelling that you make your audience nervous by NOT booking right now – maximize FOMO! This means a 10% discount is not going to cut it. You need to be aggressive and look at 40-50% discount to get tickets moving and people talking. And of course, go ahead and publish the full price tickets alongside your early bird tickets so your audience really believe the discount. It’s not enough to just say it’s a 40% discount to standard price, you need to show it too.
In the end don’t worry about offering too much to your audience, you don’t need to rely solely on early bird tickets for your event revenue. BUT you DO need to rely on early bird pricing to get the initial momentum on your ticket sales. So, give your audience plenty of time to see the early bird offer at least 2-3 times, each viewing will increase fomo and chance of conversion to a ticket sale.
And remember to leave your early bird ticket type showing on your event page when they are sold out. You want to build on the momentum you are creating at that point. Knowing you missed the chance of early birds and they have sold out creates even more fomo!
2. Phased Ticket Pricing
With phased ticket pricing, you release batches of tickets on specific dates with increasing prices as the event gets closer. This also helps to boost early ticket sales and creates a sense of urgency well in advance of your event.
If you use this pricing strategy, you can apply the psychological principle called Weber’s Law. Weber’s Law shows that customers are normally sensitive to price increases beyond 10%. Here’s a great article that also covers Weber’s Law. So think about a 15% price differential in your phased ticket prices. It will help if you publish all your tickets at once so people can see how much they will save by buying early.
Of course, to have an effective phased ticket pricing, guess what you do need to do? That’s right – plan ahead!
3. Bundled Pricing
Customers love bundles where they feel like they’re getting more for their money. Research has even shown that consumers prefer getting extra things added into their purchases for the same price (e.g. buy one get one free) to getting a price discount. You can do this by creating specific ticket types that include extras like a VIP experience, a drink, food, and other amenities.
You can complement this approach very effectively by offering an inferior bundle at the same price as a better option. Yes, you read that correctly! Why do that? Because it’s been proven that sales of the better option improve significantly as a result. Check out this brilliant Ted Talk by Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational for proof that this works!
Here’s an example: in scenario 1, say you have a “Standard” entry ticket price of HKD 399 that only gets you in the door. You also have a “VIP” ticket price of 599 HKD which includes 2 hours of free flow house drinks. According to Dan’s research, most of your audience will choose the lower priced ticket.
But let’s look at scenario 2 where you add in another ticket type. In this case you publish a “Premium” ticket price of 579 HKD which includes entry plus 1 glass of champagne at arrival. According to Dan’s research, the perceived value will result in no one purchasing the Premium ticket but much higher percentage of people will purchase the more expensive VIP tickets than in scenario 1! The Premium ticket type only serves the purpose of demonstrating what Dan calls Predictably Irrational behavioral economics.
4. Actually it’s number 9
This is one of the more surprising of the ticket pricing strategies that has been well researched and discussed in marketing publications. On average, prices with a nine at the end typically perform better than any others – even against lower prices! From one study, “In comparing the prices $35 versus $39 for women’s clothing, the study found that the prices ending in 9 were able to outperform the lower prices on average by over 24 percent.
So if you were thinking of pricing a ticket at HKD 200, maybe you’re fare better with a price of HKD 219 ?!
5. Don’t Nickel and Dime
In the US, a “nickel” is 5¢ and a “dime” is 10¢. So when someone says “don’t nickel and dime me”, they mean don’t kill me with a bunch of small price charges. This approach ends up annoying customers and potentially driving them away.
With Pelago you have a choice of including fees in the ticket price or adding them on to the ticket price at checkout time.
But the simple fact is NOBODY enjoys paying for ticket fees. And here’s another surprising psychological fact we’ve seen again and again in doing our own research at Pelago. Your audience would much rather pay more overall for their ticket as long as there are zero fees, than to pay less overall including fees added on at checkout. Yes, you heard that right.
For example, assume you have a ticket price of HKD 300 where total ticket fees are HKD 28 for a total checkout charge of HKD 328 for a single ticket purchase. Believe it when we say your audience would much rather pay a HKD 349 ticket price with zero ticket fees at checkout!
Wrap it up
Putting all of above into action is your next step. Once you’ve done your calculations and settled on your ticket prices and overall pricing strategy, it’s time to configure and publish your event! Don’t hesitate, you can always adjust along the way. Just be careful not to change your ticket pricing structure too often as you will need to give your audience a chance to see your event more than once before they will typically convert to ticket registrations.
Also, you need to ensure your social media, event posters and event page are very well written with messaging that creates the right perceived value for your event in people’s minds.
Hype the benefits of your event and create messages that sell the experience, not the price!
If you have any questions or want help setting up your event, just get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org